VICARAGE NURSERIES – GROWING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

One local company that is looking to build on its success with the support of Worcestershire Business Central is Evesham based Vicarage Nurseries. Established in 1996, the family run strawberry growing business today owns 120 acres across two sites, and is looking to take the next step in its development.

The company supplies strawberries to major supermarkets, and constantly seeks to innovate; regularly experimenting with different varieties of fruit and fertilisers. The business has several awards to its name, and has recently been in discussion with an Indian company about inward investment in Evesham.

Randesh Kalar, Business Engagement Manager for Agriculture and Agritech at Worcestershire Business Central, first met with Bal Padda, Commercial Director at Vicarage Nurseries, in May 2016. They discussed the challenges faced by the business and their future growth strategy, which involved bringing the packing of the fruit in house. This would reduce long term costs, enable the company to control production and reduce waste.

“I’m really thankful for the support Worcestershire Business Central have given our business by telling us about the support available to help realise our growth ambitions”

Although the company were aware of European funding opportunities, they had never made an application and wanted advice on the next steps to take. The proposed project included demolishing two large greenhouses, building a packing facility, and investing in machinery, with an initial cost of over £150,000.

Randesh assessed the project’s eligibility for funding and introduced the company to Claire Bridges from Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who would assess the plans in more detail and provide advice about forming an application.

Claire confirmed that Vicarage Nurseries would be viable for financial support under DEFRA and encouraged them to go ahead with planning permission for the project. She recommended that they apply for the Rural Development Fund, which can provide between £50,000-170,000 for business expansion in agriculture. Worcestershire Business Central then put the Nursery in touch with a consultant to assist them with the application process.

Completing the project will enable the Nursery to reach its growth ambitions and to become self sufficient. Bal Padda, Commercial Director at Vicarage Nurseries, said: “I’m really thankful for the support Worcestershire Business Central have given our business by telling us about the support available to help realise our growth ambitions and putting us in touch with the right people to take our ambitions forward. Working with Randesh has been great and I’m excited to see the next step in our development soon”.

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